Zbigniew Karkowski Nerve cell_0

Nerve cell_0 is a welcome addition to the neglected tradition of works for cello that violently shatters the instrument's sentimental baggage. For many, the combination of cello and electronics automatically either means soft, purring loops ― aural hot cocoa for romantic snuggling ― or melancholy moments of self-pity. This collaboration between Polish composer Karkowski and cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, on the other hand, is nothing of the sort. Nerve cell_0 builds a molten, voluptuous void of noise that engulfs the listener completely. Extending from the sensuous and brazen fields of colour charted by Xenakis in solo cello pieces like "Nomos Alpha" and "Kottos," the cello here produces an array of malevolent cries, expansive drones, barbed creaks and translucent whispers ― all of which are subject to intensive processing. Karkowski's involvement in early industrialism is evident, as he creates an imposing elemental sense of physicality that balances the instrument's resonance with crisp, vivid electronic tampering. At times, the force and turbulence even recall recent developments in doom metal abstraction. With one lone movement clocking in at almost 38 minutes of continuous sound, this dense piece isn't easy to digest, but it's most certainly beautiful. (Sub Rosa)